Thursday, March 2, 2017

Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Antique Glass Fountain Pen @1901FC

Franklin-Christoph's Antique Glass pens have been a huge hit, and have left us all salivating and desperately trying to get one into our inky little paws. With good reason. There is often a lot of hype around new things - sometimes it's warranted, sometimes it's not. It's up to you whether it's worth it. This isn't an inexpensive pen, but I really, really like it and since its arrival, it has found a permanent place in my currently inked pen case.
Review Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Antique Glass Fountain Pen @1901FC 10
Review Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Antique Glass Fountain Pen @1901FC 16

ABOUT

Body material: Acrylic
Trim: None
Nib material: #6 stainless steel
Filling System: Standard international cartridge/converter, eyedropper-capable
Cap: Threaded
Posts: Yes, friction
Length (capped): 160.2 mm/6.30″
Length (uncapped): 152.9 mm/6.02″
Length (posted): 175.0 mm/6.90″
Diameter (barrel): 8.3 – 14.2 mm/0.33″ – 0.56″
Diameter (section): 10.0 – 12.2 mm/0.39″ – 0.48″
Weight (all): 24 g
Weight (cap): 4 g
Weight (body): 20 g
Price: ~ $189.50 USD (with Masuyama grind, $169.50 USD without)
Where to buy: Franklin-Christoph - sign up for the waiting list when it becomes available

PACKAGING

Thumbs up. I really like Franklin-Christoph's packaging. I hate having a bunch of pen boxes, even the gorgeous, really interesting ones. I just don't have the space or interest in keeping them. This Model 66 Stabilis came in a black leather, zippered pouch with a soft suede-like interior. The pouch and pen were delivered in a simple, light, recyclable white cardboard sleeve. Not only is it less wasteful than a larger clamshell box, it also weighs less (for shipping). The zippered pouch is something that can be used as a pen (or pencil) pouch, or it can be used to lend a friend a pen... it has more than one use! 
Review Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Antique Glass Fountain Pen @1901FC 1
Review Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Antique Glass Fountain Pen @1901FC 2

APPEARANCE

The Model 66 has been around for awhile now at Franklin-Christoph. This 66 Stabilis is a desk pen; it is long with a round cap and barrel that tapers to a rounded-off end, and a blunt top. The finial is engraved with the FC "F" logo, with four diamonds. This is a clipless model, so the cap is smooth. The barrel is round except for one flat facet, which is engraved with: Franklin-Christoph Model 66. The section is smooth and round, with an hourglass shape and block threads at the front. The section is a little on the small side, compared to the rest of the pen.
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The entire pen is clear, in the Antique Glass, a.k.a "Coke Bottle" finish. It definitely reminds me of a glass Coke bottle. There is a clear acrylic section at the end of the barrel, so the ink reservoir in the barrel does not extend all the way to the end of the barrel. The section and cap are also clear, and the nib unit is visible. The color of the Antique Glass is on the green side - it also reminds me of sea glass. The inks in the barrel are not 100% true to color because the green tint throws them off, but for the most part, you can tell what you have inked up (blue, green, etc).
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I love the design and shape of this pen. It looks comfortable, it looks good, and the Antique Glass finish is really pretty. 

NIB & PERFORMANCE

The single tone steel nib is a #6 in broad that was ground to a cursive italic by Mike Masuyama. This was done at Franklin-Christoph before the pen even left the building. The nib has a single slit, a round breather hole, and it is engraved with the FC "F" in a diamond, the nib size (B), and some simple flourishes. 
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Review Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Antique Glass Fountain Pen @1901FC 9
Upon arrival, I flushed the pen with some dilute dish soap before cleaning it out with water. How does this nib write? It's smooth with slightly crisp edges, so it must be kept aligned with the paper for optimal performance. I found it a little dry for my taste, but it performed reliable. I just wanted it slightly wetter, so I adjusted it for what I wanted. It did not skip or hard start, even before I adjusted it. Drying times were fast and it was not a gusher. After adjusting, it was a little more wet, and was exactly what I wanted!
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The cursive italic grind offers some useful line variation - broad down strokes and narrow, clean cross strokes. The nib in general is on the firm side, but with a little pressure, some line variation can be squeezed out - just enough to add some extra shading to your letters. This is a clean and precise writer, which makes it fun! It's smoother and easier to handle than a formal/crisp italic, but it offers more distinct line variation than a stub. It's just right (write?) for daily writing and for calligraphy practice!

The section has quite a few threads, so give it a bit of silicone grease and it holds up well as an eyedropper. I have had it eyedroppered for months and months, changing the grease only once or twice, and it has never leaked on me. You can also use a cartridge or converter, but that's no fun.

IN HAND

This model does not have a clip. It would be too large to fit into a pocket even if it did. The sections on FC pens are quite comfortable for me. The block threads at the front are not sharp, and the indented shape keeps my grip in place. I do not find this section slippery at all, even during longer writing sessions. The ridge from the section to the barrel is a little sharp. 
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Unposted, I find the pen incredible comfortable. It is long but tapers so it doesn't feel blocky, it's not too thick, not too heavy, and it's well balanced. I love it! I barely have to grip the section, and it requires almost no pressure to write (though it depends on what nib you are using). Depending on the orientation, I can feel the flat side of the barrel in my hand, but it's not sharp. 
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Review Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Antique Glass Fountain Pen @1901FC 11
The cap can be posted by friction. It is a small cap, so it doesn't add much length or weight to the back of the pen. It isn't super secure unless you give it a small twist - then it's snug and won't fall off. I don't find it top heavy, just a tad long. I prefer to use the pen unposted and hold the cap as I usually do with unposted pens.
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Alongside a Franklin-Christoph Model 45 Pocket.

PROS & CONS

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OVERALL

First: I love that you have your choice of nibs, including nibmeistered nibs! This can all be done before your pen leaves the building, which means you don't have to ship it elsewhere to have it worked on, and you don't have to be separated from your baby before it comes home again. That's a huge plus to me. Second, the pen is really cool. It's tough, the Antique Glass finish is a lot of fun, and it's really comfortable. Not surprisingly, the nib performs really well and I love it. I also love that it's #6 and can be changed with other nibs I own. It's easy to take apart and clean. It doesn't roll off my desk. If you want other colors, there's no shortage of options, especially if you attend a pen show and hit up the FC Prototype table (eye candy GALORE). The downside? Well, there's two. One is that some finishes have a waiting list, and that sucks. On the other hand, patience is a virtue. Or something. The second thing is the pen is not inexpensive. I think the price for a nib grind is totally worth it - $20 USD on top of the pen price, but at a base price of $169.50 USD, it's a bit hard to swallow. FC offers some solid customer service though, so you're good for life. Of course, there are crazier prices out there... 



I received this pen as a gift, and was not asked to or required to review it in exchange. I like it so much that I thought you might like it as well. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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